Come September 21 and 22, the reality based crime show on Sony, Crime Patrol will finally telecast the two episodes based on the Delhi gang rape case. The show is based on dramatisation of real-life crime incidents, thereby, suggesting the junctures where the crime could have been avoided.
As per sources, while the channel will not claim any links to the real incident, there might be news clippings about the protests. The show was originally scheduled to be telecast on January 11 and 12, 2013. afaqs! had posted Points of View from the industry officials on whether such shows trivialised trauma.
In the official order issued by BCCC to the channel in March, 2013, the council had mentioned, "It may be pointed out here that BCCC is only a self-regulatory body formed by the Indian Broadcasting Foundation and BCCC as no powers of pre-censorship. However, in view of the fact that the dispute has been referred to BCCC by the Hon'ble High Court of Bombay Nagpur Bench, and also in view of the fact that the parties have mutually consented to submit themselves to the jurisdiction of BCCC, the present complaint was accordingly considered by BCCC, and is thus being adjudicated upon. The episodes have been viewed by the members of BCCC in presence of the representatives of the channel and also the complainant."
Now that the court has held all the four accused guilty and the verdict will be announced today, (Friday, September 13), the channel is geared up to telecast the said episodes. The original decision of the council, however, was not on the grounds of content, but was purely based on public sentiment connected to the issue.
A highly placed official in the industry who was privy to the show since it was being shot in January suggested that it has been sensitively shot. "The channel and the production house have taken all the requisite precautions not to hurt any sentiment. It is produced in a mild way with not much graphic details of the gruesome incident," he adds.
On December 23, the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting had sent a strict warning to the TV news channels covering the protests following the rape incident. The advisory had said that some channels need to show more responsibility and maturity in telecasting these events, as it may encourage violence, thereby posing a threat to the law and order situation.
Why now? Because the sentence is being declared and the accused are held guilty of the crime, says the channel. "We will be telecasting after the sentence is given, which is Friday. You will hear about the exact dates later. We had already shot it but we couldn't air it since BCCC had asked us to wait till the sentence was given out," says Rohit Gupta, president, ad sales, MSM.
A senior person close to the show and the channel suggests that compared to December 2012, the sentiment is different now. At least the perpetrators have been proved guilty in a court of law and there is a sense of retribution. "We realised the gravity of the case while shooting it. Encashing on it was not morally correct at the time. Now that the justice is visibly out, it's a different sentiment."
He further suggests that dramatisation of any real event takes its own creative liberties and that's why the channel might not claim any links to the horrific incident.
It is learnt that the episodes have seen several alterations since they were shot in January, 2013. "Obviously," says an official who doesn't want to be named, "the case has taken a complete turn since then. One of the accused hanged himself, a new law is in place, parts of the victim's statement are out in public and moreover, the case has been settled."
So, what all has changed in the televised version? The anchor script, one of the most important parts of the show, is almost new. There were little details that were relevant at that time, but now, changes have been made. The script has been changed to add relevant progression in the case. The show will also highlight several cases reported after the incident.